Committee of Corporate Architects and Facility Management

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The AIA Corporate Architects and Facility Management (CAFM) Knowledge Community consist of architects working within and for businesses and corporations. Our mission is to share expertise in the strategic, tactical, and operational activities of real property and facilities management in order to deliver value to the owners we represent. 

  • 1.  Facilities Engineering Libraries

    Posted 04-20-2021 06:32 PM
    Fellow Corporate architects:
    In our new pandemic influenced reality, we are looking at work from home impacts to the workplace, and I'd like to get your input on a particular element of space planning - Facilities engineering libraries.

    Facilities generates a fair volume of physical (vs. electronic) data, including maintenance manuals, warranties, project close out/record/as-built drawings. They may also include building code books, manufacturers' binders, samples, hard copy prints or even original vellums or Mylar's. Often there is also space in these libraries to layout drawings for viewing, as well as positions for large format plotters/printers.

    Maintaining library content is often not top priority. We often suffer from lack of resources to maintain them, and continuing work adds to the backlog.

    Of course, there is documentation that a company is legally required to retain. But beyond that, how are you approaching the following:
    • What information are you retaining/maintaining?
    • Who is maintaining the Facilities engineering library? Are you acquiring third-party support for any function within the library?
    • Technology solutions - there are many document scanning services available, but does anyone have experience with applications for managing scanned documents, and if so, which ones?
    • Future trends - how do you expect digitization, remote work and related space reductions will impact the physical presence of engineering libraries?
    Thank you for your input!

    James Rodriguez AIA
    Project Manager
    Southern California region

  • 2.  RE: Facilities Engineering Libraries

    Posted 04-21-2021 07:33 PM
    I offer this as an observation.  I believe each firm needs to establish/maintian what works for them.
    I have a client that includes having their design firms create "gold source" record drawings at the conclusion of every project.  These are essentially updated As-built drawings, so the record drawings (mostly) are up to date.

    Warranties are typically only good for 1 year.  Keeping physical binders simply takes space.  You may wish to consider uploading record drawings, warranties, project directories and files to a Company managed SharePoint or Box or Dropbox type file repository (in place of a 3rd party like ProCore)  This would allow you to maintain files under Owner control

    Henry Pohl AIA
    Vice President
    Jones Lang LaSalle
    Oak Hill VA

  • 3.  RE: Facilities Engineering Libraries

    Posted 04-22-2021 08:04 PM
    I had a client that wanted all the record drawings, warranty info, operating manuals, etc. in a digital format. They called it an electronic owner’s manual (EOM).

    Westview Consulting
    Fayetteville, AR

  • 4.  RE: Facilities Engineering Libraries

    Posted 04-22-2021 10:17 PM
    I agree I have so many binders from past projects and I have begun to digitize those. Over the last 5 years I have asked contractors to provide CD's of O&M manuals and now with platforms like Procore I just download the package and store it on the network.

    Andrew E. Thompson, AIA, NOMA LEED AP BD+C

    Passaic County Architect

    Passaic County NJ

  • 5.  RE: Facilities Engineering Libraries

    Posted 04-22-2021 10:30 PM
    I agree I have so many binders from past projects and I have begun to digitize those. Over the last 5 years I have asked contractors to provide CD's of O&M manuals and now with platforms like Procore I just download the package and store it on the network.

    Andrew Thompson AIA
    County Architect
    Passaic County
    Paterson NJ

  • 6.  RE: Facilities Engineering Libraries

    Posted 04-22-2021 06:04 PM
    Hi James,

    We just became aware of a company that provides these services during the lifetime of the project, including all of the librarian aspects of cataloging, filing and cross-referencing documents.  That is just the start of it.  I cannot vouch for the product as we are just now considering it for ourselves, but it is well worth the effort to speak with them about their services and the final deliverables which I think you will enjoy. It is called "MySmartPlans" based out of Kansas City, but it is all done electronically which is the way we run our projects anyway. Contact Dominik or Shelley Armato at 816.221.7881, hope that helps illuminate the possibilities for you too!

    Jeffrey Thompson AIA
    Assistant Director
    Broward County Construction Management
    Fort Lauderdale FL

  • 7.  RE: Facilities Engineering Libraries

    Posted 04-23-2021 09:24 AM
    Edited by Oscar R. Estigarribia Assoc. AIA 04-23-2021 09:37 AM
    I always have the site Facility Manager as the responsible party for the site's FM Library. 
    For newer sites, most of the documentation is submitted by the GC in electronic format, but I always request a hard version as well, as facilities staff in most cases is still more comfortable going through binders than computers. 
    For smaller sites a couple of binders would cover the required documentation, for larger or more complex sites you can have up to 50 binders or more, anyway nothing more that what would fit in a normal bookshelf, that easily fits in the Facility Manager's office.
    As you mention, it is interesting to also have a printed plans library and a table to work on them.
    I haven't used any digitalization services, so I can'y comment on that.
    Another related topic is regulatory documentation that must be kept onsite and the Firefighters manual, which is normally at the front desk or security officer's desk, to be provided to first responders the moment they arrive to the site.

    Oscar Estigarribia Assoc. AIA
    Director Global Real Estate Facilities
    Boca Raton FL